Some good news from Guelph Transit for a change! It looks like 33 per cent more people took advantage of free, late night rides on Royal City's buses this New Year's over last, according to numbers released by the City of Guelph and the Downtown Guelph Business Association. With nearly 4,300 free rides given, more than 1,200 over the 2013/14 New Year's celebrations, this program seems an assured success and one likely to continue to run.
Many have proposed that Guelph Transit should run longer on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to help ease the traffic flow out of the core on the weekends; that might be something worth bringing up in the upcoming transit survey. Perhaps this result might drive (so to speak) management to consider the option more permenanrtly, of course, people would have to pay the regular fare obviously.
On the other hand, I'd hate to curse our long suffering bus drivers with more of this:
But I digress. Here's the press release from the city:
Guelph, ON, January 6, 2015 – 4,258 free rides were taken on Guelph Transit on New Year’s Eve as part of the free transit service sponsored by local downtown businesses.
Sponsorship provided by the Downtown Guelph Business Association (DGBA), with additional financial support from the Western Hotel, McCabe’s Irish Pub, Bobby O’Brien’s Irish Pub, Trappers Alley, Albion Hotel and Woolwich Arrow Pub, allowed Guelph Transit to increase ridership on New Year’s Eve by 33 per cent. Ridership went up from 2,919 rides in 2013 to 4,258 rides in 2014.
“Guelph Transit’s free New Year’s Eve service, sponsored by the Downtown Guelph Business Association, shows that successful partnerships work and the results speak for themselves. The free transit service reduced the number of private passenger vehicles on the roads during New Year’s Eve celebrations and provided a safe travel alternative for the citizens of Guelph,” explains Phil Meagher, general manager of Guelph Transit. “Guelph Transit looks forward to working with DGBA to continue this important partnership and to providing viable alternative transportation options for Guelph residents and visitors.”
Free extended transit service was offered to riders from 7 p.m. on December 31, 2014 until approximately 2:15 a.m. on January 1, 2015.
“What a fantastic result. The fact that an additional 1,200 people chose Guelph Transit on New Year’s Eve shows that making it free is a great idea,” says Marty Williams, executive director, Downtown Guelph Business Association. “We are very proud to be a part of getting people home safely, and know that all the Downtown Guelph businesses who contributed to the initiative feel the same way. Thanks to Guelph Transit for asking us to be a part of it.”
Extended service on New Year’s Eve has been offered by Guelph Transit every year since 2007. 2014 was the first year the service was offered for free.